“…where everything is marginal or contiguous to everything else…”

[UPDATE: You can find the complete text of the roundtable discussion here.]

Currently, I am engaged in a roundtable discussion with Therese Grisham, Julia Leyda, and Steven Shaviro on the topic of the post-cinematic. The discussion, organized and moderated by Therese, is to appear in the excellent online journal La Furia Umana, where it will follow an earlier discussion of the topic (which focused on the first two Paranormal Activity films). I don’t want to give away too much right now, but I thought I’d offer a short preview here. What follows is the crux — and in this context, “the crux” is synonymous with “some marginal snippets” — of my answer to an excellent question posed by Therese. You’ll have to wait, though, to find out what the question was…


…whereas the characters in classical cinema provided the central focus and occasions for dramatic interest in a story-world that unfolds according to its own internally defined logics, and whereas the camera served alternately to disclose this world in the manner of a transparent window or, more exceptionally, to announce its own presence as an (uncanny or self-reflexive) object of perception, the radically indeterminate cameras of post-cinematic filmmaking serve … to displace the characters, to take them out of the center of perceptual attention and instead situate them marginally with respect to a total environment of inhuman image production, processing, and circulation – and to situate us as viewers accordingly.

…there is a reversible relation between the post-cinematic diegesis and the nondiegetic ecology of our post-cinematic world, and it is occasioned precisely by a camera that no longer situates us as subjects vis-à-vis the film-as-object, but instead institutes a pervasive relation of marginality, where everything is marginal or contiguous to everything else. This corresponds to a specifically post-cinematic mode of address: the camera no longer frames actions, emotions, and events in a given world, but instead provides the color, look, and feel of the film qua material component or aspect of the world – of our world

The post-cinematic camera, in short, modulates the affective character of the wider world; it does not bracket that world out or substitute one of its own making – for it remains indeterminately contiguous to every level of the contemporary real, including the physical, the imaginary, and the virtual.

Creating Social Media

The following info about the Master’s program in “Creating Social Media” reached me recently, and I thought it might be of interest to readers. Note that the deadline for applying is quickly approaching!

What does social media look like in the future? What will you create? At Goldsmiths, University of London, we offer an MA/MSc in Creating Social Media that provides students with practical and critical skills to shape the future of social media. The MA/MSc is a collaborative theory/practice programme across the Centre for Cultural Studies and the Department of Computing.

Based on global examples, we explore the technological and intellectual questions that have risen to prominence with the social web. We critique existing approaches and tools, and plan, develop, hack and implement new applications and campaigns. We not only analyse: we create.

New social media platforms, at their best, develop new online forms of connecting, relating, sharing and organising. Effective and innovative social media creation, therefore, involves deep theoretical and practical knowledge of both software development and social processes. Participants in the MA/MSc will become proficient in

– Computing skills in software development for new social media platforms, mashups, apps, and tools.
– This includes both coding and data skills, and a hacker approach
– Students with non technical background are brought up to speed with a specially developed bootcamp

– Theories of social processes and methods to research them.
– Adapting social media to a variety of technological contexts and to the needs of specific communities.
– Creating social media interventions that address social processes in new ways.

– Surfacing the assumptions and limitations embedded in software.
– Critically assessing contemporary discourses about social media and change.
– Building software tools that enable different forms of social practice, and launching them successfully.

The course draws together students from all around the globe, and from a wide spectrum, some with a technical background, and others whose main focus has been communications, culture, society or politics. We accept applicants until August 31 – but best apply as soon as possible.

Start: Sep 2012 (for those without technical background) or Oct 2012 (with)
Apply by: August 30 2012 latest
Duration: 1 Year full-time or 2 years part-time
Final Degree: MA or MSc (depends on focus of the thesis)
Website: http://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/ma-creating-social-media/
Contact: g.bachmann@gold.ac.uk